24 March 2015

Is Liberty University a misnomer?

The libertarian Reason magazine website notes an irony to Senator Cruz's announcement of his candidacy at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. While some observers might find any equation of Falwell and liberty ironic at best, Reason's Robby Soave notes that Cruz spoke before a captive audience yesterday. He appeared during a convocation for which attendance is mandatory on pain of a fine and reprimand. This irked students who support other candidates, some of whom showed up wearing Rand Paul t-shirts. Meanwhile, in a further irony, Liberty University defends the scheduling on rather liberal grounds, arguing that convocations often are used to expose students to diverse points of view they might otherwise avoid, including heterodox religious views by Liberty's usual standard. This misses the point of the protests made by Liberty students and picked up by Reason. Cruz's announcement was a photo op above all. Appearing during a convocation with mandatory attendance created the appearance of mass spontaneous support for his presidential campaign, but required attendance renders that appearance false. I dare say that someone like Cruz probably would draw a big crowd at someplace like Liberty anyway, given his Christianist appeal and the potential historic significance of the occasion. But it seems clear that some who would have stayed away had to show up to form a more impressive backdrop for an event that was less an airing of unorthodox opinions than it was a political advertisement. This is all grimly impressive. Leave aside your judgment of anything Cruz actually said yesterday; the event was dishonest before he even opened his mouth.


Anonymous said...

" Appearing during a convocation with mandatory attendance..."

Sounds like something glorious leader Kim Jung-Il would pull. I'll bet they had "applause" boards light up at appropriate moments as well.

Anonymous said...

It further occurs to me that, given repugnicans like Cruz believe there is a silent super-majority of conservatives like him in the US and given that he failed to spark their interest last time around, what, in his mind, has changed that they'll support him this time around?

No, the more I think about it, the more it becomes obvious that this is just an ego trip for Cruz and every other tea-bagger that attempts a second run at the White House.

Samuel Wilson said...

Anon 7:09 - Liberty representatives told Reason that students were not required to applaud Cruz, nor are they required to applaud any convocation speaker. Still, since most were likely to applaud if only out of politeness, apart from the few Rand Paul supporters in the crowd, Cruz got the visual he wanted.

7:12. This will be Cruz's first time around as a presidential candidate. He was busy getting elected to the Senate in 2012. The only 2012 reject expected to run again next year is Cruz's fellow Texan, Rick Perry. However, this information makes Cruz's run no less of an ego trip, since I suppose it takes ego to think you ought to be President.

hobbyfan said...

If Cruz loses, should we just lay the Tea Party to rest, once and for all? I think their 15 minutes ran out a while ago.